Emma Willard (1787-1870)

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Transcript Emma Willard (1787-1870)

Emma Willard (1787-1870)
Fall 2006
Who Is Emma Willard?
 Born on February 23, 1787 in Berlin,
Connecticut, the 16th child of Samuel Hart, a
self-taught farmer, and his second wife
 Before the Civil War, schools were open only
to boys; but at Emma’s time, women were
encouraged to attend primary schools
 Emma attended district school (primary) and
Academy, the closest to secondary education
Who Is Emma Willard Cont.
 At age 17, Emma started to teach and
demonstrated a natural gift for teaching
She formed classes with higher studies
beyond rote repetition
She were engaged in continuous education
while teaching and attended Patten School
and Royse School (one of the best at that
Poor girls at Emma’s time had no educational
opportunities beyond district schools
All curricular for girls even the well-to-do ones
stressed “accomplishments” as sewing, music
and art more than academic subject.
Who Is Emma Willard Cont.
 She took charge, in Middlebury, VT, of one of
the first academies for women in the country
Married Dr. John Willard, a man twice
widowed with four children at the academy
She began a life of a married women and
gave birth to John Hard Willard
She opened a boarding schools for girls at
her home
Her curriculum first stressed the
“accomplishments,” then move on to higher
studies of math, history, and language
Who Is Emma Willard Cont.
 Emma believed that married life would be
happier if the wife could also be an
intellectual companion to the husband
 She wanted to prove that girls are capable of
comprehending college level studies
 Teaching method
 Understand the material
 Recite what has just been learned
 Communicate the information to one
Who Is Emma Willard Cont.
 Emma worked on her “Plan for Improving
Female Education” (Female Seminaries)
 Emma published her plan and sent it to the
prominent people of her time such as
Monroe, Adams, Jefferson, and Governor De
Witt Clinton of New York
 In 1818, Governor Clinton passed a charter
for the Waterford Academy for Young Ladies,
the first legislative act recognizing a woman’s
right to higher education
 Emma moved her school to Troy, New York
Who Is Emma Willard Cont.
 In 1812, the Troy Female Seminary began
with 90 students.
 Emma enlarged the curriculum making higher
mathematics a permanent part of studies
 She believed that religious training is the
basis of all education and give instructions on
religion using a non-sectarian manner
 She was the first woman to offer scholarships
for women (around $75,000)
Who Is Emma Willard Cont.
 Emma had a special interest in teacher
She was a forerunner of normal school
Her seminary did much to change public
opinion regarding the education of women
In 1826, the first public schools for girls was
established in both Boston and New York
She was one of the first educators to take
definite steps to train women teachers
In her effort to help Henry Barnard to promote
common school in CT, Emma became the
first woman superintendent in the nation
Who Is Emma Willard Cont.
 She received a gold medal at the World’s Fair
of 1851 in London for her educational work
 She advocated for women’s special abilities
to go beyond primary school
 When she returned to the United States, she
was taken prison by the Confederates during
the Civil War
 In her later years, she was busy with updating
history textbooks
Willard’s Contribution to Education
 Troy Female Academy was the first school to
provide higher education for women when no
high school was open to women
 Her school offered some college level
courses such as physiology and advanced
algebra and geometry
 Combated the belief that women’s minds
were not acute enough to handle
mathematics or the natural sciences
 Eroded the conventional belief that there
were differences in mental abilities between
men and women
Willard’s Contribution to Education
 The Willard Plan was the first public claim
that education should be available for all
It called for liberal arts curriculum with
essentials from men’s colleges, but would be
taught exclusively by women
She obtained public grants for the first time
for the education of women
She provided training for women to become
She organized an alumnae network
Willard’s Contribution to Education
 Troy Model was reproduced by its own
graduates all over the country. This model
incorporated a systematic study of pedagogy
 “In this movement for the higher education of
women, Emma Willard must be given first
place. No other women had made such
definite experiments in education, no other
woman had so daringly stepped into the
limelight to wage her fight for education” (By
Alma Lutz, Willard’s biographer, cited in
Murphy, p. 269)
Willard’s Philosophy of Education
 “For the sake of the Republic, women must
be educated. Women of education and
character would bear nobler sons and train
them for useful citizenship.” (Republican
 “Education should seek to bring its subjects to
the perfection of their moral, intellectual, and
physical nature in order that they may be the
greatest possible use to themselves and
 From Plan for Improving Female Education
More Resources on Willard
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Willard
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Willard_Sc
 http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/people/A0852
 http://www.pinn.net/~sunshine/whm2001/willa
More Resources on Willard Cont.
 Kersey, Shirley Helson. Classics in the
Education of Girls and Women. Metuchen, NJ:
Scarecrow Press, 1981.
 Lutz, Alma. Emma Willard: Daughter of
Democracy. Washington, DC: Zenger
Publishing, 1975.
 McClelland, Averil Evans. The Education of
Women in the United States: A Guide to
Theory, Teaching, and Research. New York:
Garland Publishing, 1992.